Rental demand boosts car sales

Cindy Preller

DESPITE a decline in exports in the past month, vehicle sales have grown in the domestic market, mainly due to strong sales to the vehicle rental industry.

The vehicle sales statistics for last month, released yesterday, showed a decline of 3.6% in export sales but an aggregate industry sales increase of 7.5% from the 54075 units sold in July 2012 to 58140 units sold in the past month.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa) said the domestic market had continued to grow over the past four years. “Overall, out of the total reported industry sales, 82% represented dealer sales, 11.4% sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.6% to industry corporate fleets and 2% to government.”

A strong contribution by the car rental industry had contributed to the July sales totals and this trend was expected to continue over the next two months, Naamsa said.

New vehicle exports of 26608 had registered a decline of 994 units or 3.6% compared to the 27602 vehicles exported last July.

Staying steady in fourth place for the highest vehicle sales in the country, General Motors South Africa (GMSA) sold 5487 units last month, an increase of 7.5% on July last year.

Vice-president of vehicle sales, service and marketing at GMSA, Malcolm Gauld, said demand for the Chevrolet Spark was high, with 737 sold during the month and a high level of interest from both private and fleet buyers.

“Vehicle sales continue to perform at higher than expected volumes. Sales reporting for July was, however, skewed to an extent by the fact that dealers enjoyed 23 selling days in the month compared to the more normal 19 to 21 trading days.

“Further support for the market came from a high level of activity in the rental market with 6644 deliveries in July, a gain of more than 25% over the same month last year. The light commercial sector showed a gain of some 17% in dealer sales for the period which is encouraging as this is supported largely by activity in the business sector.”

Despite Toyota taking the No 1 spot among the manufacturers for sales last month with a total of 11935 vehicles, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) recorded its best monthly result for the year with sales of 10613 units.

Sales and marketing director Mike Glendinning said VWSA had achieved a market share of 24.4% in the passenger car market sales for July, which made it the market leaders in the passenger car market for the month.

The Polo Vivo, which is manufactured at the Uitenhage factory, was the top-selling vehicle in the total vehicle market with 3574 units.

“Positive contributing factors include the historically low interest rates, replacement demand, new model introductions and retail incentives,” Glendinning said.

“However, given the subdued economic growth and the likelihood of above-inflation price increases, the rate of market growth in the second half of this year will slow down and lag the first six months.”

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